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Capital Audiofest (CAF) 2022 Show Report -- CAF 2022 premium luxury audio event coverage.


The Audio Analyst's Capital Audiofest 2022 Show Report
One of the best shows on the calendar, and remarkably successful too!
CAF 2022 Show Report By Greg Weaver



Stepping It UP!
I've had the pleasure of knowing Klaus Bunge, of Odyssey Audio, and Dr. Craig Buckles, of Magnan cables for years now. And while Klaus, whose company is just hours away from me in Indianapolis, Indiana, makes some of the most overachieving products available today, this year, he changed things up.

Now it is no small coincidence that Klaus has also imported the highly regard German Symphonic Line products into the US since the late 1980s. Further, he has their permission and blessing to use their board layouts and circuit designs, but can then stuff them with his own chosen parts and components. This allows him to build absurdly great-sounding products at ridiculously affordable prices, like his Khartago Stereo Amplifier at just $999, or the Candela Tubed Preamplifier at $1,600. But it was his amazing $5,900 Odyssey Liquid speakers that were being accentuated this year.

- Acoustic Signature Typhoon turntable ($17,900)
- Graham Engineering Phantom Elite tonearm ($15,500)
- Hana Umami Red MC cartridge ($3,950)

- Symphonic Line phono preamp with outboard power supply ($22,000)
- Symphonic Line Tube preamp with outboard power supply ($29,000)
- Symphonic Line Kraft 300 Class A 40th Anniversary edition stereo amplifier ($40,000)

- Odyssey Liquid speakers ($5,900)

- Magnan Cables Silver Reference RCA interconnects ($3,520, 3 sets used)
- Magnan Cables Signature speaker cables ($1,350/pr.)
- Magnan Cables Signature power cables ($1,375, 6 used)



The change-up I'm he made that I'm referring to this year comes in that he traditionally shows his Odyssey-branded electronics and speakers with this remarkable analog front end. This year, highlighting his ridiculously affordable Liquid speakers, he chose to use all the much more expensive and very well-regarded Symphonic Line electronics that he imports.

And so, after I was ushered into the best seat in the room, Klaus turned down the lights, accentuating his natural candle- and mood-lit room, and let it all out as he played side one of the 45RPM Mobile Fidelity UD1S release of Santana's Abraxas.



You may not be able to tell from the photos, but this room setup is an extreme near-field configuration, and the body and bloom he accomplishes with this ridiculously simple and arresting-sounding speaker hitched to this absurdly expensive gear is remarkably corporeal. This system images and stages with near perfection, with just a bit of depth sacrificed as well as a slight loss of extension in the bottom-most register. Once again, this system delighted in how naturally and transparently it presents the music it is fed. Tone color was vibrant, full of texture, and richly detailed, yet so neutral and relaxed overall that you could sit and listen for hours. Well done yet again, Klaus.


512 - Salk-McGary
These two companies, Jim Salk's Salk Sound and Mike McGary's McGary Audio, have been showing together successfully for many years, and for particularly good reason. The synergy between their products simply cannot be overstated.



Salk StreamPlayer Gen III SE ($2,495)
Holo Audio Spring 3 DAC/with preamp ($3,698)

McGary Audio SPA1 Preamp ($9,000) – WORLD PREMIERE
McGary Audio MA1 Monoblocks ($20,000/pr.) – WORLD PREMIERE

Salk BePure3 speakers ($20,995/pr.) – WORLD PREMIERE

All cabling supplied by AntiCables


The new BePure 3 speakers feature a new Purifi 8" woofer and a side-firing passive radiator in the separate bass enclosure, and have a Purifi 6.5" midrange mated to the Satori beryllium tweeter in the separate mid-treble cabinet that rests on top of the bass system.



This pair was gorgeous, in a wood veneer Jim called Harborica. Never heard of it? That's because it is a manufactured veneer. It is really Poplar, but they pour black dye into the ground as the tree is growing which creates the darker grain. Pretty cool, no? Rated at 25Hz to 40kHz, standing 46" tall, 11" wide, 17.5" deep, and weighing 127 pounds, the BePure 3 represents a price jump of nearly three times that of Jim's previous flagship, the $6,995/pair, single enclosure, BePure 2

According to Mike, the new McGary Audio Stereo Preamplifier One, or SPA1, is a very simple, purist design with only four unbalanced (RCA) inputs and two outputs. It uses 6BQ7A (or 6N1P equivalent ) tubes, one for each channel, is biased into Class A, has a precision (0.1%) ELMA stepped attenuator volume control that allows for remote control, and because that attenuator is placed after the output, rather than before it on the input side, it also allows for much more robust performance. The front panel knobs, for sensitivity and source selection, as well as volume level, are lit with LEDs so you can easily see their settings from the listening position.

The new Monoblock Amp One, or MA1, can use KT88, KT90, or KT120 outputs, and is rated at 80 Watts RMS into 8 ohms. Gary had KT90s installed this debut, and they developed an output of 90 Watts. Like the SPA1, it features unbalanced (RCA) only inputs, but is biased in Class AB, with a push-pull ultra-linear output stage, and incorporates considerable storage capacitance using polypropylene capacitors, not electrolytics.



This new troika of electronics, the linestage and pair of mono's, with an aggregate price of some $29,000, also represents a significant increase in price from his existing SA1E ($7,000) or SA2 ($7,985). In fact, these new products costs three and a half times more than his previously most expensive product/s.

While these two manufacturers have always presented very synergistically, with a consistently strong balance of naturalness, honest tonality, great dynamics, and good resolution, this year, the products they have chosen to introduce not only represent a major step up, but beside retaining all their trademark tonality and neutrality, they have realized huge gains in both the resolution and transparency departments, as well as in image focus and staging specificity.

I know they both thought it risky to make such a bold move into these price points, but I'm "hear" to bear witness that you have both hit it out of the park with these new products. The Salk BePure 3 speaker, the McGary SPA1 line stage, and the MA1 mono amplifiers, all establish remarkable new achievements and benchmarks for your work, and for products of commensurate price and class... WELL DONE!



More To Come!
While I had another room all ready to write up in this "Stepping It Up" category, it was so good that it made it into my Top Five and will be covered in Part Two of this show report. Within my next installment, I'll cover some other interesting items and reveal my Top Five rooms at this show. Until then, enjoy the music!




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